Title/Author: The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
Publisher/Year Published: 2012 by Random House
How I got this book: Random House sent me this book for review.
Why I read this book: A free copy was offered to TBTB for review and I claimed it!
The Age of Miracles tells the story of twelve-year-old Julia, who wakes up one morning to discover—along with the rest of the world—that the Earth’s rotation has begun to slow. As both the days and nights grow longer, the gravity and the weather are not the only things to be affected: Julia must also deal with the societal implications as well as the effects on her own family and friends.
I really wanted to like this book. I love science fiction, and the plot sounded incredibly creative. I also love a good bildungsroman, and from the description I got from Random House as well as the book flap, it seemed like it would be a great story about growing up in a crumbling world. Unfortunately, it seemed a bit to me like Walker tried too hard to make it both without putting enough substance in the story.
It just seemed to me like there were far too many loose ends. Early on, eleven-year-old Julia is sexually harassed at the bus stop by an older boy—and nothing at all comes of this, other than the fact that she loses a beloved necklace that is mentioned maybe one or two more times. Later, Julia’s friendship with her best friend Hanna collapses unexpectedly, with no resolution. I realize that this can happen to relationships, but it felt like it happened for no reason. After Julia turns twelve, she is invited to a small party in one of the wealthier neighborhoods, where she and a few other young teenagers drink beer—and again, nothing at all comes from it. Frankly, it seemed less like an actual plot than a series of random events, loosely strung together against the backdrop of the inexorable slowing of the Earth’s rotation.
I was also hoping to see some more of Julia’s actual growing up, but the only birthday she passes in the entire book is her twelfth. She’s much older in the last chapter/epilogue (at least 23), but most of the blanks between her twelfth year and her twenty-third are left unfilled. I think the story would have flowed a little better if it had taken place over more than a year.
I’m the type of person who likes long books that I can lose myself in—books where I can really get to know the characters and get involved in the story. At only 269 pages, this was not one of those books. It felt rushed and disorganized to me, despite the very promising plot, and I think that if she had explored some of the incidents I mentioned above a bit more, she could have written a much better, more coherent story.
Rating: 2.5/5 stars